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Ode to Evening



IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Like thy own solemn springs,

Thy springs and dying gales;

O Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,

O'erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises, 'midst the twilight path
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:

Now teach me, maid composed,

To breathe some softened strain,

Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit,

As, musing slow, I hail

Thy genial loved return!

For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant Hours, and Elves
Who slept in buds the day,

And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,

The pensive Pleasures sweet,

Prepare thy shadowy car:

Then lead, calm votaress, where some sheety lake
Cheers the lone heath, or some time-hallowed pile,
Or upland fallows gray
Reflect its last cool gleam.

Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut
That, from the mountain's side,

Views wilds and swelling floods,

And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw

The gradual dusky veil.

While Spring shall pour his showers, as of the wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light;

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train,

And rudely rends thy robes:

So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,

Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,

Thy gentlest influence own,

And hymn thy favorite name!

William Collins [1721-1759]


It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;

The holy time is quiet as a Nun

Breathless with adoration; the broad sun

Is sinking down in his tranquility;

The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;

Listen! the mighty Being is awake,

And doth with his eternal motion make

A sound like thunder-everlastingly.

Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,

If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,

Evening Melody


Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year,
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
William Wordsworth [1770-1850]


SKIES to the West are stained with madder;
Amber light on the rare blue hills;

The sough of the pines is growing sadder;
From the meadow-lands sound the whippoorwills.
Air is sweet with the breath of clover;
Dusk is on, and the day is over.

Skies to the East are streaked with golden;
Tremulous light on the darkening pond;
Glow-worms pale, to the dark beholden;
Twitterings hush in the hedge beyond.

Air is sweet with the breath of clover;
Silver the hills where the moon climbs over.
Robert Adger Bowen [1868-


O THAT the pines which crown yon steep
Their fires might ne'er surrender!

O that yon fervid knoll might keep,
While lasts the world, its splendor!

Pale poplars on the breeze that lean,
And in the sunset shiver,

O that your golden stems might screen
For aye yon glassy river!

That yon white bird on homeward wing
Soft-sliding without motion,

And now in blue air vanishing

Like snow-flake lost in ocean,

Beyond our sight might never flee,
Yet forward still be flying;
And all the dying day might be
Immortal in its dying!

Pellucid thus in saintly trance,

Thus mute in expectation,

What waits the earth? Deliverance?
Ah no! Transfiguration!

She dreams of that "New Earth" divine,
Conceived of seed immortal;

She sings "Not mine the holier shrine,
Yet mine the steps and portal!"

Aubrey Thomas de Vere [1814-1902]


IN the cool of the evening, when the low sweet whispers waken,

When the laborers turn them homeward, and the weary have their will,

When the censers of the roses o'er the forest aisles are shaken,

Is it but the wind that cometh o'er the far green hill?

For they say 'tis but the sunset winds that wander through the heather,

Rustle all the meadow-grass and bend the dewy fern; They say 'tis but the winds that bow the reeds in prayer together,

And fill the shaken pools with fire along the shadowy burn.

In the beauty of the twilight, in the Garden that He loveth, They have veiled His lovely vesture with the darkness of a name!

Through His Garden, through His Garden, it is but the wind that moveth,

No more! But O the miracle, the miracle is the same.

At Perivale


In the cool of the evening, when the sky is an old story, Slowly dying, but remembered, ay, and loved with passion still

Hush! . . . the fringes of His garment, in the fading golden


Softly rustling as He cometh o'er the far green hill.

Alfred Noyes [1880


SPIRIT of Twilight, through your folded wings
I catch a glimpse of your averted face,
And rapturous on a sudden, my soul sings
"Is not this common earth a holy place?"

Spirit of Twilight, you are like a song

That sleeps, and waits a singer,-like a hymn That God finds lovely and keeps near Him long, Till it is choired by aureoled cherubim.

Spirit of Twilight, in the golden gloom

Of dreamland dim I sought you, and I found

A woman sitting in a silent room

Full of white flowers that moved and made no sound.

These white flowers were the thoughts you bring to all,
And the room's name is Mystery where you sit,
Woman whom we call Twilight, when night's pall
You lift across our Earth to cover it.

Olive Custance [18


OH the grave and gloomy quiet at the closing of the day! When the sun has long gone down,

Not in splendors of his own,

But behind a veil of vapor vaguely vanishing away;

With a wraith of filmy cloud,

Creased and wrinkled, to enshroud

All the glow that he should give us at the closing of the day.

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